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The Link Between High Blood Sugar and Alzheimer’s

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The stress and heartbreak that accompanies Alzheimer’s disease is all too real for affected seniors and their loved ones, but recent research read by Jefferson County elder care professionals may shed new light on causes and prevention. 

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, more than 46 million seniors globally are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. Although most cases cannot be traced to one cause, findings show that there’s a connection between Alzheimer’s and high blood sugar. 

Over the course of seven years, researchers at the University of Washington measured the blood sugar of 2,067 men and women over the age of 65. Their results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that high blood sugar levels correlated with higher risks of dementia. 

Throughout the study, subjects took blood sugar tests, and after the research concluded, one quarter of participants had acquired dementia with most of them developing Alzheimer’s. Those with higher glucose levels were shown to be 18 times more likely to develop dementia.

As shown in diabetes cases, high blood sugar (glucose) levels create insulin resistance. This impairs the body’s ability to control glucose levels. Numerous factors play a role in this condition, and consuming high amounts of sugar and the subsequent development of diabetes factor into insulin regulation.

The Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis published findings that reflect fluctuating blood sugar levels “can have harmful effects on brain function and exacerbate neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.” Insulin regulates neurotransmitters in the brain. When there are spikes in insulin due to elevated blood sugar, it impairs proper cognition and memory formation. These repeated spikes can lead to permanent neural damage. 

Here are a few tips to lower blood sugar levels and decrease susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Get Regular, Moderate Exercise
  • Eat Foods with a Low Glycemic Index
  • Monitor Blood Sugar
  • Reduce Stress Levels and Engage in Relaxing Activities

The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging and uncertain. If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with AD, you can find help and support by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. We provide Alzheimer’s care Jefferson County families rely on, and all of our care services are backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. To learn more about our care services, give us a call at (303) 987-5992 and speak with an experienced Care Manager today.